The dream UEFA Champions League group stage draw: Our ideal club matchups and pools for 2022/23

The dream UEFA Champions League group stage draw: Our ideal club matchups and pools for 2022/23

The UEFA Champions League group stage never fails to deliver unforgettable matches and nail-biting finishes as clubs push for progress to the knockout stages.

The 2022-23 season should be no different with the group stage set to take shape when the draw is held on August 25

A total of 32 clubs will be split into eight groups of four with only two sides from each able to make it to the knockout rounds. 

Prior to the draw, clubs are drawn into pots based on their UEFA club coefficient ranking with the exception of Pot 1. Last season’s Champions League (Real Madrid) and Europa League winners (Eintracht Frankfurt) are automatically placed into Pot 1 alongside the champions of the top six leagues in the UEFA country coefficient list

Teams from the same nation cannot be drawn against each other in the group stage meaning the competition always throws up its fair share of unique fixtures at this point. 

Ahead of the group stage draw, The Sporting News has put together its ideal group outcomes which would deliver the most compelling matchups and storylines for the next three months.

MORE: Champions League pots for the group stage draw

Group A

  • Pot 1: Real Madrid (Spain)
  • Pot 2: Liverpool (England)
  • Pot 3: Borussia Dortmund (Germany)
  • Pot 4: Club Brugge (Belgium)

It’s impossible to resist not putting the two 2021/22 Champions League finalists together in the group stage. Real Madrid and Liverpool have now faced off in two UCL finals over the past four years with the Reds no doubt desperate to avenge those consecutive losses. Joining them in this ‘Group of Death’ candidate would be Borussia Dortmund and Club Brugge, ensuring every fixture is competitive. 

Group B

  • Pot 1: Manchester City (England)
  • Pot 2: Barcelona (Spain)
  • Pot 3: RB Salzburg (Austria)
  • Pot 4: Celtic (Scotland)

Pairing Manchester City and Barcelona together is more than timely and would see managers Pep Guardiola and Xavi face off for the first time in a competitive match. Xavi was a key part of Guardiola’s Barcelona team over a decade ago and is now following in his former mentor’s footsteps at Camp Nou. The addition of RB Salzburg and Celtic in this group would give every game real attacking intensity with all four known for their abilities in front of goal.  

Pep Guardiola on the training ground at Manchester City

Group C

  • Pot 1: AC Milan (Italy)
  • Pot 2: Chelsea (England)
  • Pot 3: Shakhtar Donetsk (Ukraine)
  • Pot 4: Maccabi Haifa (Israel)

It’s been over 20 years since AC Milan and Chelsea played a competitive match against one another so the time feels right to group them together. Shakhtar Donetsk would then loom as a possible wildcard and will no doubt be fired up to represent Ukraine strongly on the European stage considering the situation in their homeland. Maccabi Haifa is in the group stage for the first time since 2009.

Group D

  • Pot 1: Bayern Munich (Germany)
  • Pot 2: Juventus (Italy)
  • Pot 3: Sporting CP (Portugal)
  • Pot 4: FC Copenhagen (Denmark)

Placing the respective heavyweights of Germany and Italy together should deliver two gripping games. Bayern and Juventus last faced off in the Champions League in 2016 when their Round of 16 tie was forced to extra time after both games ended 2-2. Sporting CP shouldn’t be underestimated, but this group will likely be dominated by the European giants. 

Group E

  • Pot 1: PSG (France)
  • Pot 2: RB Leipzig (Germany)
  • Pot 3: Inter Milan (Italy)
  • Pot 4: Rangers (Scotland)

Every possible fixture for this group is capable of delivering fireworks. PSG vs. RB Leipzig would see two clubs with plenty of cash behind them battle it out, while Inter Milan are capable of beating both when they’re firing up front. Throw in Rangers and Group E becomes truly electric.  


Group F

  • Pot 1: Ajax (Netherlands)
  • Pot 2: Tottenham (England)
  • Pot 3: Bayer Leverkusen (Germany)
  • Pot 4: Viktoria Plzen (Czech Republic)

Ajax and Tottenham produced a Champions League semi-final tie for the ages in 2019, so it’s time for a rematch. (Spurs progressed to the 2019 final at the expense of Ajax after Lucas Moura scored a 96th-minute winner.) Both clubs are looking sharp domestically so will no doubt deliver two unmissable group stage matches. Bayer Leverkusen is an attack-minded team, and Viktoria Plzen nearly scored two goals per game in last season’s Czech league.

Group G

  • Pot 1: Eintracht Frankfurt (Germany)
  • Pot 2: Sevilla (Spain)
  • Pot 3: Benfica (Portugal)
  • Pot 4: Marseille (France)

This group would be the toughest to handicap. Benfica is battle-tested at this level, while both Eintracht Frankfurt and Sevilla will be looking to show they can cope with the step up to the Champions League after showing they can win the Europa League in recent years. Marseille, meanwhile, have assembled a strong squad that includes new recruit Alexis Sanchez. 

MORE: Time, TV and live streams for Champions League group stage draw

Group H

  • Pot 1: Porto (Portugal)
  • Pot 2: Atletico Madrid (Spain)
  • Pot 3: Napoli (Italy)
  • Pot 4: Dinamo Zagreb (Croatia)

While this group might not necessarily deliver a whole lot of goals, you can expect more than a few strong challenges and fiery affairs. Atletico Madrid would consider themselves favourites in this group, but Napoli, Porto and Dinamo Zagreb won’t be giving up any points easily. 

Champions League pots and seedings

Here are the way the pots break down ahead of the Thursday, Aug. 25 draw. 

Each club’s UEFA club coefficient ranking is included for Pots 2-4 below since club seeding in those pots is based on the coefficient ranking. 

Pot 1Pot 2Pot 3Pot 4
Real Madrid
(Champions League)
2-Liverpool19-Borussia Dortmund33-Rangers
Eintracht Frankfurt
(Europa League)
5-Chelsea21-RB Salzburg34-Dinamo Zagreb
Manchester City
(1st, England)
6-Barcelona22-Shakhtar Donetsk38-Olympique Marseille
AC Milan
(1st, Italy)
8-Juventus23-Inter Milan41-FC Copenhagen
Bayern Munich
(1st, Germany)
9-Atletico Madrid25-Napoli44-Club Brugge
(1st, France)
(1st, Portugal)
13-RB Leipzig28-Sporting CP55-Viktoria Plzen
(1st, Netherlands)
14-Tottenham30-Bayer Leverkusen169-Maccabi Haifa

Clubs from the same country cannot be drawn in the same group and will be moved to the next available open group slot.

The list below includes the clubs from the same country in the 2022/23 group stage draw:

No. of
5GermanyBayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Bayer Leverkusen,
RB Leipzig, Eintracht Frankfurt
4EnglandManchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham
4ItalyAC Milan, Inter Milan, Napoli, Juventus
4SpainReal Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Sevilla
3PortugalBenfica, Porto, Sporting CP
2FrancePSG, Olympique Marseille
2ScotlandCeltic, Rangers
1AustriaRB Salzburg
1BelgiumClub Brugge
1CroatiaDinamo Zagreb
1Czech RepViktoria Plzen
1DenmarkFC Copenhagen
1IsraelMaccabi Haifa
1UkraineShakhtar Donetsk

Champions League group draw TV channel and live stream

The 2022/23 UEFA Champions League group stage draw will take place on Thursday, August 25 at 18:00 local time in Istanbul, Turkey and it will televised or streamed around the globe.

CountryDateTimeTV channelStreaming
AustraliaFri, Aug. 2602:00 AEST —Stan Sport
CanadaThurs, Aug. 2512:00 ET —DAZN
Hong KongFri, Aug. 2600:00 HKT —, UEFA YouTube
IndiaThurs, Aug. 2521:30 IST —, UEFA YouTube
MalaysiaFri, Aug. 2600:00 MYT —, UEFA YouTube
New ZealandFri, Aug. 2604:00 NZST —, UEFA YouTube
SingaporeFri, Aug. 2600:00 SST —, UEFA YouTube
UKThurs, Aug. 2517:00 BSTBT Sport 1BT Sport site/app
USAThurs, Aug. 2512:00 ET TUDNfuboTV, Vix+, Paramount+,
CBS Sports HQ